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  1. #1
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    Cyclist tased after run-in with cop for "impeding traffic"


  2. #2
    Senior Member owenh's Avatar
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    Great response

  3. #3
    Senior Member Rex G's Avatar
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    One of the responses to "A 'Cop' Responds" contained three words of wisdom: pick your battles.

    Another thing that must be considered is that sometimes, there are valid reasons to stop someone other than a traffic violation. My favored example is that just around that corner, or just over a hill, there may be a gas leak, a fuel spill, a collapsed bridge, a hostage situation, or some type of danger that is not readily apparent. Perhaps that officer is the first one arriving on such a scene, so there will be no visible sign of the danger ahead. The police may indeed be trying to stop a motorist or cyclist for a public safety reason, not a traffic violation. I wear a badge not primarily as an enforcer, but as a protector and keeper of the peace. Believe me when I say your survivors will sue the pants off of me if I don't take fairly extraordinary measures to keep you away from known danger, and my PD can fire me, and the state pull my peace officer's license, too.

    Just to be clear, I am NOT defending the actions of any of the officers in the incident in question. There are buttheads working for the same PD as I do, who issue certain bicycle violations in total error, because they disregard the fine print in the applicable traffic laws. (That being keeping to the right when "practicable" to do so, which simply does not apply to lanes less than a certain width.)

    My usual disclaimer when discussing law: My location of residence is Bellaire, Texas, but I work for another PD, not Bellaire PD. I am a peace officer, not a lawyer, and do not give "legal advice."
    Last edited by Rex G; 04-30-09 at 01:22 PM.
    Have Colt, will travel...

  4. #4
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    I do not want to sound like a LEO bash but when someone gets a ticket the usual response is "don't screw up and you won't run afoul of the law." Or ignorance of the law is no excuse; if a LEO issues a ticket it is because of the "fine print" of the law. I have "picked my battles" and gone to court for BS tickets; my point is that if the civilian knows the law better than the "expert" then maybe some corrective training needs to come into play.

    Fortunately I have known some prosecutors that encourage the judge admonish LEO's that have been known to write "BS" citations. When it comes to it even a not guilty verdict usually cost the person money in time off work/ lawyer fees etc. What financial incentive does a LEO have in getting the ticket right; often they get paid flat rate or overtime.

  5. #5
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    I've read quite a bit of this incident, and really a lot of it comes down to a pissing match between the (possibly) overzealous LEO and the (possibly) arrogant cyclist.

    But in my opinion, the tazering and arrest were NOT caused by the cyclist exercising his rights, it was caused by him not responding appropriately to the LEO. I've been asked to pull over on a road that I have every right to ride on. Did I keep rolling? No. Did I assume an arrogant argumentative attitude? No. I stated my case. If the LEO then tickets me, I ***** and complain and take it to court. I've never found myself even remotely in a situation that resulted in shouting let alone physical violence. In my opinion, regardless of who's story you believe (and I think that is highly debatable), the cyclist screwed up big time. I'm not saying the LEO didn't also screw up - this seems like a classic example of two people screwiing up big time. But it could have been avoided by the cyclist and he could have still exerted his rights in another place and time and made his point.

    I was pulled over once and I was kind of pissed because I was riding lawfully on a 4 lane, divided, 55 mph highway, on a clean shoulder. The trooper gave me a little lights/siren and I pulled over. He got out and in a very friendly way told me I was difficult to see (getting dusk and I had a dark jacket and dark backpack on). He was just telling me to make myself more visible as a friendly gesture. I could have taken the offensive stance and refused to pull over and yelled at him as he went past "I have every right to the road!", but why the F would anyone do that? Stupid.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Camilo View Post
    The trooper gave me a little lights/siren and I pulled over. He got out and in a very friendly way told me I was difficult to see (getting dusk and I had a dark jacket and dark backpack on). He was just telling me to make myself more visible as a friendly gesture. I could have taken the offensive stance and refused to pull over and yelled at him as he went past "I have every right to the road!", but why the F would anyone do that? Stupid.
    According to the cyclist in this story, the cop's first words to him were "You guys shouldn't be riding in the road," not "Pull over." And according to the cyclist, he responded to that opinion that he shouldn't be riding in the road by saying "We have as much right to be in the road as you do."

  7. #7
    Rumblefish jtarver's Avatar
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    A fat cop fighting a guy in spandex and cycling shoes...I would love to have been a fly on the wall for that.
    1973 Crescent Pepita FG, 1987 Panasonic DX-4000, 1991 Trek 1400 FG, 1990's Gary Fisher Hoo-Koo-e-Koo SS, 1990's Denti Road Tech Five, 2009 Surly Long Haul Trucker

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Order View Post
    According to the cyclist in this story, the cop's first words to him were "You guys shouldn't be riding in the road," not "Pull over." And according to the cyclist, he responded to that opinion that he shouldn't be riding in the road by saying "We have as much right to be in the road as you do."
    Yea, like I said, the two accounts are nothing but a pissing match between two sources for which I have no confidence - because I wasn't there and I don't know either party. I'm certainly not going to give the benefit of the doubt to the cyclist because plenty of them are arrogant and lack good judgement and there's plenty in both accounts to indicate so. I'm certainly not going to give the benefit of the doubt to the cop just because he's a cop because I've met plenty who are incompetent and officious... again there's plenty in both accounts to indicate so. And, I'm not going to argue minutae like this with you because there's no point. My only point is that my OPINION is that the cyclist, right or wrong, could have avoided the overblown physical confontration. So could have the cop - but the cop wasn't the one who suffered, therefore I feel the cyclist made a mistake allowing or causing the escalation.

  9. #9
    Senior Member EatMyA**'s Avatar
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    All I was thinking when I clicked on this link was "this 'cop' is probably gonna be a 'deputy' watch".

    Yup sure enough, no police there, just a riiiitard sheriff. Its too bad many cities cant afford their own police force.

    "Nothing to see here" was my reaction.

  10. #10
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    The most telling part of the story for me, was when the cop got back to the station, looked up the laws and could not find the impeding law he arrested the cyclist for, the cop then decided he had to find something to charge the cyclist with.

    That is the point that the cop should have realized that he screwed up and apologized to the cyclist.

    It was compounded when the prosecutor foolishly did not drop the case and in fact, wrongly added the impeding charge.

  11. #11
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    Who knows what the real story is here. No doubt, somewhere between the two different versions. In my experience, when a cop tells you to stop, you probably should stop. Very little good comes from ignoring cops. The right or wrong of their orders can be sorted out later.

  12. #12
    ♋ ☮♂ ☭ ☯ -=(8)=-'s Avatar
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    Im 50, a quiet recluse for the most part.
    In my life, Ive had three instances with small town police and a state trooper
    that required court appearances to make 'right'. A fourth one, a Rutland Co. Vermont
    Sheriff demanded 100.00 cash, on the spot, or my car would be towed and 'disappear for a while'.
    In each instance, the cop flagrantly, bold faced lied on his reports.
    The deck is stacked against honest people and we are at the mercy of a sector
    of the society known for aggressive and time bomb personality traits.
    Sad that we have to grovel and scrape and hope the people who are entrusted with
    protecting us arent in a bad mood or in search and destroy mode for their shift.
    -ADVOCACY-☜ Radical VC = Car people on bikes. Just say "NO"

  13. #13
    pedalphile
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    Quote Originally Posted by Camilo View Post
    I've read quite a bit of this incident, and really a lot of it comes down to a pissing match between the (possibly) overzealous LEO and the (possibly) arrogant cyclist.

    But in my opinion, the tazering and arrest were NOT caused by the cyclist exercising his rights, it was caused by him not responding appropriately to the LEO. I've been asked to pull over on a road that I have every right to ride on. Did I keep rolling? No. Did I assume an arrogant argumentative attitude? No. I stated my case. If the LEO then tickets me, I ***** and complain and take it to court. I've never found myself even remotely in a situation that resulted in shouting let alone physical violence. In my opinion, regardless of who's story you believe (and I think that is highly debatable), the cyclist screwed up big time. I'm not saying the LEO didn't also screw up - this seems like a classic example of two people screwiing up big time. But it could have been avoided by the cyclist and he could have still exerted his rights in another place and time and made his point.

    I was pulled over once and I was kind of pissed because I was riding lawfully on a 4 lane, divided, 55 mph highway, on a clean shoulder. The trooper gave me a little lights/siren and I pulled over. He got out and in a very friendly way told me I was difficult to see (getting dusk and I had a dark jacket and dark backpack on). He was just telling me to make myself more visible as a friendly gesture. I could have taken the offensive stance and refused to pull over and yelled at him as he went past "I have every right to the road!", but why the F would anyone do that? Stupid.
    +1

    When a LEO tells you to pull over, you pull over. Yoiu do not first ask yourself if he has a reason to pull you over.

    Sounds like a case of an arrogant prick cyclist. It really doesn't matter if the cop is a doosh or not. Pull over, let him be a doosh for a few minutes. If he tickets you for a bogus charge, you'll get the last laugh in court and hopefully the incompetent officer will be one step closer to being out of a job.

  14. #14
    Randomhead
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    From my reading of this incident, what got the cyclists in trouble was the total lack professionalism of the cop from the very beginning. He basically acted like the typical ignorant heckler that most of us have grown used to ignoring. What people have to understand is that there is a small but significant minority of LEOs that need to have their hand held in situations like this. What's clear is the guy needs to lose his badge, it probably will happen, and hopefully without tragedy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by trekker pete View Post
    +1

    When a LEO tells you to pull over, you pull over. Yoiu do not first ask yourself if he has a reason to pull you over.
    And what if the cop doesn't ask you to pull over? What if the cop just tells you to get off the road? What do you do then?

    Quote Originally Posted by trekker pete View Post
    Sounds like a case of an arrogant prick cyclist.
    As opposed to the kind of driver, uniformed or not, who would use his car to force a cyclist off the road?

  16. #16
    meandering nomad
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    Reading comp seems to be at a low point now a days. Read carefully, this cop said get off the road not pull over. This Barney Fife is typical of my local PD. I've been told to get off the road while skating after I led a push to get the city ordinance repealed. The cop was a sargent not a rookie, I expect more from a higher ranked officer. I did argue the point and had him radio the station and he was wrong.
    Cops are dumb@sses more often than not in my experience, Ex MP vets with a chip on their shoulders. This includes many off duty conversations at the local cop-bar and an attempted extortion by one.
    I wish they would enforce the laws about sidewalk and wrong way cyclists, but they seem ignorant or apathetic to actually working to enforce the real laws while making up new ones.
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  17. #17
    pedalphile
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    Quote Originally Posted by billew View Post
    Reading comp seems to be at a low point now a days. Read carefully, this cop said get off the road not pull over. This Barney Fife is typical of my local PD. I've been told to get off the road while skating after I led a push to get the city ordinance repealed. The cop was a sargent not a rookie, I expect more from a higher ranked officer. I did argue the point and had him radio the station and he was wrong.
    Cops are dumb@sses more often than not in my experience, Ex MP vets with a chip on their shoulders. This includes many off duty conversations at the local cop-bar and an attempted extortion by one.
    I wish they would enforce the laws about sidewalk and wrong way cyclists, but they seem ignorant or apathetic to actually working to enforce the real laws while making up new ones.
    this is the correct way to handle a dooshbag cop.

    Stop, explain to him that he is wrong. As soon as you "resist", you give him a reason to pull the arsehole card. And once that happens, the chance of you winning the encounter are reduced to approximately zero.

  18. #18
    www.chipsea.blogspot.com ChipSeal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by billew View Post
    Reading comp seems to be at a low point now a days. Read carefully, this cop said get off the road not pull over. This Barney Fife is typical of my local PD. I've been told to get off the road while skating after I led a push to get the city ordinance repealed. The cop was a Sargent not a rookie, I expect more from a higher ranked officer. I did argue the point and had him radio the station and he was wrong.
    Cops are dumb@sses more often than not in my experience, Ex MP vets with a chip on their shoulders. This includes many off duty conversations at the local cop-bar and an attempted extortion by one.

    I wish they would enforce the laws about sidewalk and wrong way cyclists, but they seem ignorant or apathetic to actually working to enforce the real laws while making up new ones.


    I wish they would enforce the laws about sidewalk and wrong way cyclists, but they seem ignorant or apathetic to actually be citing safety violations. But they are zealous about traffic "flow" disruptions, even to the point of enforcing imaginary laws.

    "To serve and protect" must mean to serve the motorists and to protect the streets from non-motorized travelers .
    Vehicular cycling techniques have not been tried and found difficult. They have been presumed difficult and not tried.

  19. #19
    Ride the Road Daily Commute's Avatar
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    Bottom line: When a cop orders you to do something, do it. If the cop s wrong, you can always complain later to the cop's superiors or to the political officials who oversee the police department. If the cop is really wrong, you might even be able to sue. But you cannot win a testosterone contest with a cop on the street.

    Plus, even if you are riding lawfully, the cop may have a good reason for telling you to move over. Maybe emergency vehicles are coming. Maybe a funeral procession. Maybe something else.

    Comply first, complain later.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daily Commute View Post
    Bottom line: When a cop orders you to do something, do it. If the cop s wrong, you can always complain later to the cop's superiors or to the political officials who oversee the police department. If the cop is really wrong, you might even be able to sue. But you cannot win a testosterone contest with a cop on the street.

    Plus, even if you are riding lawfully, the cop may have a good reason for telling you to move over. Maybe emergency vehicles are coming. Maybe a funeral procession. Maybe something else.

    Comply first, complain later.
    I've been pulled over by cops at least 5 times, all but one for "traffic flow disruptions" to quote Chipseal. The other time was on a quiet road with no other traffic where the cop didn't want to change lanes to pass and instead blared his horn at us for a while before finally turning his lights on at which point we pulled over.

    I've also had a few cops yell things over their speakers like "get on the sidewalk" or "get off the road." What kind of idiot do they think I am? Do they expect me to respond when they do that? One of those cops was stuck in traffic going the opposite direction of me. I waved and went on my way just like I would if some d-bag motorist said that to me.

    I've had a few situations in life where I gained a lot of respect for cops but my experiences riding a bike have chipped away at most of that. You can expect at least a brief argument from me if you want to make up laws to match your opinion.

  21. #21
    Ride the Road Daily Commute's Avatar
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    A brief discussion is usually fine when the cop is asking you to do something that appears to be simply wrong, but you need to pay attention for the time when the cop stops listening. Then, you just have to stop arguing and make a note of the cop's badge or car number so you can complain later.

  22. #22
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChipSeal View Post
    I wish they would enforce the laws about sidewalk and wrong way cyclists, but they seem ignorant or apathetic to actually be citing safety violations. But they are zealous about traffic "flow" disruptions, even to the point of enforcing imaginary laws.

    "To serve and protect" must mean to serve the motorists and to protect the streets from non-motorized travelers .
    Hey wasn't you that in another thread just the other day stated, among other things:

    Quote Originally Posted by ChipSeal View Post


    The law we have now is known.
    Apparently, not known well enough, eh?

  23. #23
    meandering nomad
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daily Commute View Post
    Bottom line: When a cop orders you to do something, do it. If the cop s wrong, you can always complain later to the cop's superiors or to the political officials who oversee the police department. If the cop is really wrong, you might even be able to sue. But you cannot win a testosterone contest with a cop on the street.

    Plus, even if you are riding lawfully, the cop may have a good reason for telling you to move over. Maybe emergency vehicles are coming. Maybe a funeral procession. Maybe something else.

    Comply first, complain later.
    The day I can't hear or see a siren or party lights it's time to get off the bike. I live right down the block from a funeral home and rarely do they have a police escort unless it's a retired cop or politician. again it's pretty obvious by the headlights, little flags and hearse. I never approach an uninformed LEO with an attitude and stating a law or ordinance is not resisting. Why should I go out of my way to the station house to complain? I know the law and he has a radio or if I was frequently stopped I would do the laminated card with road laws as suggested by some forum members.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    Hey wasn't you that in another thread just the other day stated, among other things:

    Quote Originally Posted by chipseal
    The law we have now is known.
    Apparently, not known well enough, eh?
    Funny, I had the same thought.

    In any case, this is an interesting thread/story. There's no question the cop was out of control of himself and the situation- not a good thing when his job is to be the "authority" and carrying firearms and other weaponry. And, while I understand the cyclists' reactions, I long ago learned to face the humiliation of submission to an out of control authority in the moment and just stay as safe and sane as possible and deal with it in court or later.

    Not the kind of cop I'd want pulling over my 17 year old niece on a quiet country road at night. Police officers are endowed with a kind of absolute authority and any abuse of that authority is a really serious breach of public trust and does a lot of damage. This cop really needs to be called on that action and pay for it in some way. The cyclists need to, and they probably already have, wise up.

  25. #25
    Crankenstein bmclaughlin807's Avatar
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    Yes, you should absolutely choose your battles. I mean, who needs the right to travel, anyway, right? Or protections from illegal search and seizure... I mean, I have nothing to hide, who cares if a cop wants to pull me over because I'm riding through a 'bad' neighborhood and do a patdown and run a check in the system just in case I might have some warrant or something.

    Just remember in a few years... when you're stopped at mandatory checkpoints and they demand to see your papers and your justification for traveling... who needs the fight? The proper answer is "Absolutely, Officer. Here's my Identification, my permit to travel this road so I can get to work, my permit to work, my permit to......"
    "There is no greater wonder than the way the face and character of a woman fit so perfectly in a man's mind, and stay there, and he could never tell you why. It just seems it was the thing he most wanted." Robert Louis Stevenson

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